Behold A Northern Irredentist At Work | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Behold A Northern Irredentist At Work

Posted: Sep 1, 2015 at 4:16 am   /   by   /   comments (4)

As news of President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest appointments filtered out on Thursday, August 27, 2015, I called a foreign diplomat friend of mine to seek his view of a possible foreign perception of the various appointment thus far made by this administration. Tongue in check, in topic diplomatic trait, he was skeptical but his views were quite revealing. Buhari, he says, may be planting the seed for a return of the pre-election dooms day prediction that Nigeria may break up in 2015. His skepticism arises from the fact that an elder statesman cum president of a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria could be so prejudiced in his choice of appointments that he finds it fit to appoint only people of his northern extraction to key government offices.

With this round of appointments, the international community will have to watch with bated breath. He particularly drew my attention to two key appointments by Buhari that smacks of ethnic agenda: First the appointment of the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and now, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Whereas, the President seems to take pleasure that in the absence of core northern high ranking officers to take over the command of the two services, some retired officers, obviously of northern interest, are called to duty to assume those responsibilities. And so, Lawal Musa Daura (Buhari kinsman) was appointed the new Director General, Department of State Security (DSS), as a replacement for Mr. Ita Ekpeyong. In the same way, a retired Colonel and former military administrator of Kaduna, Hameed Ibrahim Ali, is named the new Comptroller General of Customs.

Quite interesting, one would say. Below is a list of all appointees made so far by President Buhari since assumption of office and their states of origin 1. Aide de Camp to president: Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal, [Kano State, North-West;  2. Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President: Femi Adesina, [Osun State, South-West];  3. Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity: Garba Shehu, [Kano State, North-West];  4. State Chief of Protocol/Special Assistant (Presidential Matters): Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure, (Jigawa State, North-West);  5. Accountant General of the Federation: Ahmed Idris (Kano State, North-West);  6. National Security Adviser: Babagana Monguno (Borno State, North-East);  7. Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin, (Ekiti State, South-West);  8. Chief of Army Staff: Tukur Buratai, (Borno State, North-East);  9. Chief of Naval Staff: Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, (Cross Rivers, South-South);  10. Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, [Bauchi State, North-East]

Others are;  11. Chief of Defence Intelligence: Monday Riku Morgan (Benue State, North-Central);  12. Director General, Department of State Security, DSS: Lawal Daura, (Katsina State, North-West);  13. Acting Chairperson, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Amina Zakari, (Jigawa State, North-West);  14. Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA: Habibu Abdulahi (Kano State, North-West);  15. Special Adviser, Niger Delta Amnesty Office: Paul Boroh, (Bayelsa State, South-South);  16. Acting Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration, Safety and Security Agency, NIMASA: Baba Haruna Jauro (Yobe State, North-East);  17. Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission: Umaru Dambatta (Kano State, North-West);  18. Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS: Babatunde Fowler, (Lagos State, South-West);  19. Director General, Budget Office of the Federation: Aliyu Gusau, (Zamfara State, North-West);  20. Engr. Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Adamawa state);  21. Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President (Borno state);  22. Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.);  Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service(Nassarawa state);  23. Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service (Nassarawa state);  24. Senator Ita S.J. Enang, SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) (Akwa Ibom);  25. Emmanuel Kachikwu- Group MD NNPC (Delta state).   

Of the 25 appointments, only seven are from the southern part of the country, while 18 are from the north, and none from the south-east; in a country whose constitution preaches federal character and quota system in recognition of the diversity of the constituting nationalities that make the geographical expression called Nigeria. A direct consequence of these appointments is the manifest acts of propagandists that have taken to the social media. Of particular interest is the claim by the pro-administration groups who claim that Mr. President will balance the appointments as there are several others to come. This group may just be out to do some damage control or they failed to realize the implication of what Buhari has done with his lopsided appointments.  Is the President saying that in all of these appointments, there is no Ndigbo from the south-east that is qualified to man any of the positions?

Something is simply not right with the appointments and the President need be told the bitter truth. Recall the high point of his inaugural speech; “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.” The appointments are clearly not just a deviation from that epic statement only; they underscore his belonging to the north. Action they say speaks louder than voice. That is why the statement issued by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, saying that Mr. President was calling for calm in view of the hue and cry generated by the recent appointments makes no sense and further insults the sensibility of discerning Nigerians. He says the President will not marginalize any section of the country in subsequent appointments, when in fact the south, particularly the Igbos, have been untowardly marginalized.

 And trust Ndigbos to stand up to the reality of times, the Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), has called on Ndigbo to remain calm in the face of provocation. According to the group, “a million Buhari cannot marginalize Ndigbo, as such there was no need to continue with cry of marginalization in the face of the lopsided appointments.” The Deputy Secretary of ILT, Elliot Uko, in a statement, said Ndigbo “must not whine or cry in the face of all these.”   Very well said. I hold no brief for southern Nigeria or Igbo in particular but Buhari in the appointments has displayed the bias of a sectional leader that will make scholar of history or political science adjudge him harshly; behold a northern irredentist at work.


Comments (4)

  • Sep 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm muazu wali

    The provisions with regard to federal character and zonal or state representation in appointments kept us more aware of our zones/states rather than Nigeria our country. These provisions are incompatible to democracy and should be discarded.

    • Sep 6, 2015 at 9:01 am Okwy

      Maybe you are right, but clear and absolute nepotism and exclusion is worse. If you say it is about competence, since when dis the North begin to produce more competent people than the South.

      • Sep 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm muazu wali

        There are two issues here. Nepotism. Democracy allows the winning party to dictate political appointments from its supporters. Should anyone feels excluded he should think back where his vote went.
        Competence. Yes northerners have not been visible at the federal level. However things are longer the same. As you can see the north has a reservoir of competent technocrats and professionals men and women. We never ask for our share of appointments. We have enough at our various states. However when it is clear that those holding our trusts are not doing well it becomes necessey to take over and return Nigerians and the country to sanity. That is what is happening now.

        • Sep 7, 2015 at 12:39 am Okwy

          So, which people led Nigeria into unpardonable insanity for the most part her post-independent history using military jackboots to plunder the country and entrench unprecedented corruption? Which people would make an NCE holder in Islamic Hausa Language CBN Governor? Please, don’t even go there.

          As for votes, hope you didn’t mean the phantom votes and under-aged voters used to rig the APC to power in the South. I don’t blame you people. I blame Jonathan.

Comments are closed.